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See also:  Tanya Huff's Vicki Nelson Paranormal Investigator series page reading order and synopsis; 160x480

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Craig Dilouie

answers the Usual Questions

photograph, Craig DiLouie, courtesy the author; 220x312

Craig Dilouie

Craig DiLouie is a horror writer who has tackled disturbing material. In an interview, he said, "Good horror pushes boundaries, makes people think and feel. In my view, the trick is that while material produced for shock value has its market, the best horror doesn't bludgeon the reader but rather invites them into the story."

Has your interaction with fans, for example, at conventions, affected your work?

Absolutely. When you're working your way up the ladder in long fiction, you feel like you have nothing to lose.

You just go for it out of love for what you're doing, and you're mainly pleasing yourself. As you become established and start attracting fans, it's extremely gratifying but also adds pressure. These are people who love your writing; you don't want to disappoint them.

Stephen King once said he targeted his writing to an idealized reader, in his case his wife. It's great advice to keep established writers from trying to please everybody. The problem with trying to please everybody is you simply can't, so you end up getting stuck.

Another interesting result of the feedback I get is learning that almost every reader will get something different from what you write. This guy's favorite scene is not going to be that other guy's. This is strange for a writer to realize, since we're obsessive communicators. It just goes to show there's no formula for this; you just have to write the best you can and hope people like it.

Is there any particular incident (a letter, a meeting, a comment that stands out?

I received a letter from a lieutenant whose platoon held a remote outpost in Afghanistan. Every night for nineteen consecutive days, he told me, his base was hit by mortars. Those trying to sleep had to jump out of their racks, gear up and rush to the perimeter. He said when the excitement was over, it was hard to get back to sleep with his adrenaline pumping. So he read by books and got others in his platoon reading as well. He said they helped him during the experience and thanked me for it. I was floored and more than a little humbled. All I did was write a book - I should have been thanking him (which I did). It just goes to show the power of reading. A good book can make a big impact at the right time.

Do you have a favourite author or book (or writer or film or series) that has influenced you or that you return to?

I write apocalyptic horror fiction and find myself influenced by the little things that end up in my notebook. For example, I once watched a commercial for the original Left 4 Dead computer game and saw a scene where the characters make a stand. One of them was a woman and at first glance I thought she was a cop. I thought, wow, that'd be a great scene - a police station getting overrun by zombies. That character (a female cop) and scene ended up in my novel The Infection, and it's awesome. It's amazing how little things spark big ideas.

Sometimes I get great ideas from mistaken perception. I'll watch a trailer for a movie and get an idea of what the movie is about, but when I actually see the movie, it's nothing like the expectations the trailer set up in my head. I leave the movie thinking, I'd really love to see the movie I thought I was going to see. I've come up with a least one solid novel idea that way.

In fiction, I have far too many influences to list them all here. I believe a writer should always be reading, and I learn something from every book I write. Probably the author who inspired me to write my first zombie novel, which launched my career as a horror writer, was David Moody.

Who is the person you would most like to be trapped in a lift with? or a spaceship?

My kids. They're hilarious.

Who is the person you would most DISlike to be trapped in a lift with? Or a spaceship?

Wow, a few people come to mind. I'm going to have to pass on this one.

What would you pack for space? (Is there a food, beverage, book, teddy bear, etc that you couldn't do without?)

I'd pack my Kindle eReader and my laptop to keep me reading and writing.

What is the most important thing you would like to get/achieve from your work?

I'd like to go on entertaining the crap out of people such that they keep buying my books. Not for the money - fiction is really a paying hobby, not my primary income - but for the joy of being able to produce something that makes people happy. Or, in my case as a horror writer, terrified.

What is the special satisfaction of your work?

Being able to do something I love that delivers an experience that makes people feel something.

submitted by Craig Dilouie

22 July 2014

For other answers to The Usual Questions Click here

Just the facts:
Born: United States of America
Suffer The Children (Simon & Schuster, 2014)
The Retreat (self-published, 2013)
The Killing Floor (Permuted Press, 2012)
The Infection (Permuted Press, 2011)
Tooth and Nail (Start Publishing, 2010)
The Great Planet Robbery (Start Publishing, 2008)
Paranoia (Start Publishing, 2001)

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